The yearning for democracy and freedom remain alive in China following the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, a prominent Chinese political dissident and social activist said ahead of the 25th anniversary of the incident.
“The ‘flames’ of freedom and democracy were extinguished in China that year, but the ‘fire’ was passed on,” Hu Jia (胡佳), who remains under house arrest, told the Central News Agency in a telephone interview.
Especially anxious this year because it is the 25th anniversary of the massacre, Chinese authorities have prolonged the “stability maintenance period,” said Hu, who has been closely monitored by the authorities since January.
He has only been allowed to leave his home twice a month to be treated at a hospital for a liver ailment.
The 40-year-old said he was not afraid to be jailed and was ready to face any adversity ahead, adding that many people inevitably have to pay the price if a country is to walk toward democracy.
Compared with his parents, who were labeled as rightists during Mao Zedong’s (毛澤東) Anti-Rightist Movement, “what I have suffered is nothing,” he said.
Hu said he envies Taiwan’s free and democratic society, but warned that Taiwan will not be able to safeguard its freedom and security unless China also becomes a democracy.
He said he was aware of Taiwan’s White Terror era, referring to the authoritarian Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime’s persecution of political dissidents in Taiwan for nearly four decades until the lifting of martial law in 1987.
However, “the Chinese Communist Party’s Red Terror rule of China is even worse than the White Terror era,” he said.
The European Parliament awarded its Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Hu in 2008, when he was still serving a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence on charges of “inciting subversion of state power.”
He was released in June 2011, but is currently under house arrest in Beijing.
The Tiananmen Square Massacre, commonly known as the June Fourth Incident in Chinese, remains a taboo subject in China.
After weeks of pro-democracy protests in 1989, Chinese troops and tanks fired on civilians at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4. Estimates of the death toll range from several hundreds to thousands.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
DOING ENOUGH? The HPA budgets NT$1.3 billion to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but has no separate budget to fight teen drinking, a doctor said The government should step up alcohol education and prevention efforts, and allocate more of the budget to it, doctors said on Friday, citing the high consumption of alcohol among Taiwanese adolescents. One out of four 12-to-17-year-olds has consumed alcohol, said Yen Tsung-hai (顏宗海), director of Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Department of Clinical Toxicology. The Health Promotion Administration (HPA) budgets NT$1.3 billion (US$43.9 million) annually to prevent the health hazards of tobacco, but it has not allocated a separate budget for preventing teenage drinking or excessive alcohol use, Yen said. “There is no so-called ‘safe drinking level’ for minors,” because any amount consumed
The Fancy Frontier manga and anime expo held in Taipei over the weekend has sparked controversy, after a participant allegedly contravened the Act on Offenses Against Sexual Morality (妨害風化罪) by publicly exposing her private parts during a photo shoot. The two-day event opened at the Expo Dome at the Taipei Expo Park on Saturday, attracting numerous comic and anime creators, cosplayers, photographers and fans. Allegedly, a female cosplayer who was not wearing any underwear lifted up her skirt and revealed her private parts at an outdoor photography area near the venue. Event organizers said yesterday that to prevent indecent exposure, they have since
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”